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tv   [untitled]    March 30, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

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now, do i see an immediate prospect in the security council for a new round of sanctions on iran? i think frankly the answer to that is not immediately, no. i think that many countries are rightly focusing on what they can do within their national and regional authorities to step up the pressure. and it's indeed the major trading partners of iran that have the most impact and leverage, and they're the ones on which our efforts have been most focused and where we're seeing positive results. in the meantime the u.n. context, we are working to increase the pressure by maximizing the effectiveness of enforcement of existing measures, building capacity in countries to do that enforcement and at the same time not just leaving it to what the security council can do with sanctions to increase the pressure on iran but using other elements of the u.n. system so that the united states general assembly last fall passed a resolution condemning iran's human rights
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abuses by the largest margin in history. similarly we've used the human rights council to put in place a special rapporteur. we believe able to get the general assembly to condemn the plot to assassinate the ambassador so in every turn we're trying to ratchet up the pressure on iran with success. >> let me jump over to a question i asked earlier and we ran out of time and that was security council resolution 1701 with hezbollah and the rearming there. what has been done to help stop hezbollah's rearming or can you brief the committee regarding the latest on security resolution 1701. >> 1701 is the resolution that established a renewed mandate for unifil on the border of southern lebanon with israel. its mandate is to prevent the
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flow of personnel and weapons into a zone adjoining the israeli border. it has been relatively effective in doing that. it is a mandate under chapter 6 of the u.n. charter rather than chapter 7, which would have been our preference, being the more robust enforcement chapter of the united nations charter. it wasn't possible to obtain that because it didn't have the consent of the lebanese authorities. but i just was meeting yesterday with the israeli chief of defense staff, general gant. we talked about the role that unifil is playing and his view was, and i was gratified to hear that on balance what they are contributing is important and valuable. it's not air tight, it's not foolproof. there are continued weapons flows indeed to hezbollah from elsewhere, but that is in a
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fashion a different challenge than the one that resolution 1701 with its presence on the border was designed to deal with. but our view on unifil is it's doing a solid job. it's limited by the confines of its mandate. and it's not all that we would hope it could be -- >> is it possible to strengthen unifil? >> unfortunately i don't think it is politically viable, as much as we would like it. >> thank you very much. mr. diaz-balart. >> madam ambassador, i recognize it's a very difficult place you're dealing with and probably one of the most difficult places. one of the frustrations i think that we all have and i'm sure that you have as well is the fact that after all is said and done with the u.n., there's usually very few actual concrete results. you were mentioning some of those results being, for example, the fact that news there's the recognition of a violation of human rights in
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syria or libya. you know, i'm glad. but i guess next they'll recognize that the pacific ocean has lots of water and we should be really excited about that. but let me go into some areas where i think we can agree. going back to mr. dent's question about north korea and he asked you if they do launch their missile what, would the united states attitude be in the u.n. you mentioned -- i just want to clarify that. you would not be recommending if they do move forward on that launch for the u.s., us, our position, to backtrack on our position regarding north korea, right? >> no. let's be clear. he asked about the security council and what our posture would be. such a launch would be a clear cut violation of resolutions 1874 and 1718. there's no difference of view among members on the council of that it being a violation. we would seek a strong council response. >> again, so the attitude would
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not be the same as unesco, it would be to continue our position -- >> we do not agree on how you characterize our position on unesco so i'm not going to buy into that. >> i understand that, but i think it's pretty clear. now, again, another area that i think we may be able to agree is the following. some nations russia, have been pushing to reverse this consensus -- the internet, which basically has not been regulated internationally. now china and russia are trying to give the international telecommunications union regulatory jurisdiction over internet governance. the itu is a treaty-based organization under the auspices of the united nations. put in, prime minister puttin said last june the goal of this effort is to establish international control over the internet using the monitoring and supervisory capabilities of the itu. has the administration taken a position on that or will the
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administration come out in opposition to protect the internet from global control? >> i'm happy to take that question and get back to you. >> great, because i think that's one hopefully we can agree on. third, another one that i think we might be able to agree on is an issue dealing with the residents of camp ashraf. they're moved to camp liberty, they have constant surveillance. they have listening devices installed i believe by the iraqi government. that's supposed to be a home, not a prison. is there anything that you can do to ensure that the cameras are removed? pressure to see if those cameras can be removed? what pressure is being placed on the iraqi government to guarantee the security of those i ra iranian residents that live that and what's being done to make
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sure they are not moved to iran where they would suffer pretty enormous consequences. >> let me address the role the united nations has played and the role we have played in support of that process. first of all, the arrangements that were negotiated between the iraqis on the one hand and the residents of camp ashraf on the other were the product of, we think, some very important and impressive and successful unite special representative martin kobler who has negotiated arrangements and overseen this -- the beginning of this transition of residents from ashraf to liberty. the united nations is in there monitoring the situation 24/7 and providing a degree of oversight and independent eyes and ears to ensure that the residents are treated in a manner that is acceptable and up
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to international standards. the unhrc, the high commissioner for human rights is beginning the process of screening those who may wish to move on and is doing that also in accordance with international standards of the sort that we respect and apply around the world. so this is an instance, sir, where a difficult problem we think has begun to be addressed and mitigated by the constructive involvement of the united nations. >> great, thank you. i think my time is almost up but i'll respectfully again -- you and i have obviously agreed to disagree on the unesco thing. i think we need to show a lot more firmness, not only to unesco because of their attitude but also the member states need to understand there are serious consequences. again, we'll agree to disagree. thank you for your service. >> are there any additional
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questions for the record, the subcommittee on state foreign relations operation stands adjourned.
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president obama has several campaign nooechts burlington, vermont, today. he will speak at the university of vermont. watch live coverage starting at about 2:35 eastern this afternoon on c-span. back here in washington, the clinton global initiative is kicking off their fifth annual student conference this evening with a discussion on the power
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of public service. founding chair and 42nd president bill clinton will host a panel that will include former secretary of state madeline albright. the event is hosted by george washington university. live coverage starts at 7:30 eastern on c-span. ronald reagan was leaving this hotel after delivering a speech to the afl-cio. hinckley can't believe he's this close. he's 15 feet from the president. he shoots. the first one hits jim brady in the head. he falls down. the second hits a d.c. police officer who had turned around to check on the president's progress. he gets hit in the back, falls down and screams i'm hit. now the path to the president is clear. it's wide open. hinckley has an effective range 20 to 30 feet. he's done practice. >> march 30th, 1981, would be assassin john hinckley fires six shots. this weekend on american
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artifacts, the race to save a president, sunday at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. live sunday on in depth, our founding fathers, civility and conservative politics. your questions for richard brookheiser. his 11 books include right time, right place, george washington on leadership and his latest on james madison. he'll take your phone calls, e-mails and tweets sunday at noon eastern on c-span 2's book tv. starting sunday, see the winners in this stay tuned cam video documentary competition on the theme the constitution and you as middle and high school students showed which part of the constitution was important to them and why. we'll air the top 27 videos each morning at 6:50 eastern at c-span and you'll meet the students who created them each day. for a preview check
12:13 pm chancellor of the exchequer george osborne unveiled the budget last week before members of parliament. it outlines the government's proposed tax and spending plan for reducing the deficit and creating job growth. following his speech often six looed ed miliband responded. from london, this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> the honorable george osborne. >> mr. deputy speaker, this budget rewards work. britain is going to earn its way in the world. there is no other road to recovery. this budget supports working families and helps those looking for work. it unashamedly backs business and it is on the the sign of
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aspiration. those who want to do better for themselves and for their families. this budget reaffirms our unwavering commitment to deal with britain's record debt. but because we've already taken difficult decisions, this can also be a reforming budget that seeks to repair the disastrous model of economic growth that created those debts. a model that saw manufactures almost half the share of the national economy while the national debt doubled. mr. deputy speaker, this is how britain will earn its way in the world, with far-reaching tax reform. with a simpler tax system where ordinary taxpayers understand what they're being asked to pay. with a tax system that is more competitive for business than any other major economy in the world. a tax system where millions of the lowest paid are lifted out of tax altogether.
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while the tax revenues we get from the wealthiest increase. but reforming tax is only part of the story. we will earn our way in the world by saying to all business, large and small, we will provide you with a modern infrastructure, new growth friendly planning laws. the kind of schools our future workforce needs. and in return you, british business, have the self confidence to invest, expand, hire, innovate and be the best. we earn our way in the world. if we stop being afraid to identify britain's strengths and reinforce them instead, backing industries like aerospace, energy, pharmaceuticals, creative media and science. a deliberate strategy to create a more balanced national economy where financial services are strong but they are not the only string to our bow. mr. deputy speaker, stability
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comes first. the report from the office for budget responsibility reminds us today of the risks to stability. despite the welcome action by the european central bank, the impact of the sovereign debt crisis on the european economy has been significant. italy, the netherlands, belgium and others are now in recession. germany's economy shrank from the last quarter. in today's report, the obr are sharply revising down their forecasts for euro area growth this year by 0.8% to minus 0.3%. their forecast for world economic growth is also revised down over the next two years by 0.2% and 0.3% respectively. of course britain is not immune from these developments in our largest export markets. the obr say today that the situation in the euro area
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remains a major risk to our forecast. another risk they identify is a further spike in oil prices, and there is no doubt that the high oil price driven both by real demand and the iranian situation is of great concern across the world. it means that the obr's overall assessment of the outlook and risks to the british economy is broadly unchanged since last november's report. despite these headwinds, there are, however, some more positive signs. of the obr expect the british economy to avoid a technical recession with positive growth in the first quarter of this year. they say that the british economy has in their words carried a little more momentum interest the new year than previously anticipated. indeed, the office for budget responsibility is slightly revising up their growth forecasts for the u.k. this year to 0.8%. then they forecast 2% next year,
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2.7% -- >> order, order. i know the host has to breathe, but we want to hear from the chancellor and we can't do that with too much noise on either side. >> they then forecast 2% next year, 2.7% in 2014 and 3% in both 2015 and 2016. the obr forecasts unemployment rate the same as last autumn. they expect it to peak at 8.7% before falling each year to 6.3% by the end of the forecast period. but they have revised down their estimates of the claimant account, which they now expect to be around 100,000 lower in each of the next four years they previously forecast peaking at 1.67 million this year rather than the 1.8 million they forecast in november. and they forecast 1 million more
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jobs in the economy over five years. inflation is expected to fall throughout the period. from 2.8% this year to 1.9% next year and then 2% by the end of the forecast period. i am today writing to the governor of the bank of england to reaffirm the cpi inflation target of 2%. the government's credible and responsible fiscal policy allows the independent central bank to pursue an activist monetary policy consistent with targeting low inflation. i confirm that the asset purchase facility will remain in place for the coming year. so unemployment is growing, inflation is coming down and so too is the deficit. when this government came to office, the budget deficit stood at over 11%. the state was borrowing one in four of every single pound that it spent. today i can report that the deficit is falling and is
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forecast to reach 7.6% next year. the share of national income taken by the state will have fallen from almost 48% when we took office to 43% next year. we must stick to the course so there will be no deficit funded giveaways today. but because we've taken difficult decisions, nor do we need to tighten further. over the five-year period this is a fas cally neutral budget and achieved through a modest reduction through taxation and spending. so let me turn to those fiscal forecasts. the whole house will be pleased to know that these have improved a little from the forecasts i presented in november. borrowing this year is set to come in at 126 billion pounds. 1 billion pounds lower than i forecast in the autumn and over 30 billion pounds lower than its peak, the year before we came to office. borrowing will then fall to 120
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billion next year, if you exclude the transfer of royal mail pension assets. it will call to 98 billion in 2013-14 and then 75 billion, then 52 billion, reaching 21 billion by 2016-17. so in borrowing, borrowing is 11 billion pounds less than i last forecast in the autumn and this will be used to pay down debt. in my first budget, i set the government the fiscal mandates of achieving a current balance by the end of the five-year horizon and the obr confirmed today that we are on course to achieve that mandate and have eliminated the structural current deficit by 2016-17. they also confirm that we are on course to reach our target for debt to be falling as a percentage of national income by the end of the parliament in 2015-16. public sector net debt is now set to peak at 76.3% in 2014-15, almost 2% lower than previously
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forecast before falling the following year. a balanced structural current budget and falling debt, our deficit reduction plan is on course and mr. deputy speaker, we will not waiver from it. to do so would risk a sudden loss of confidence and a sharp rise in interest rates, and we will not risk that. instead, we reinforce today our commitment to fiscal responsibility, not just this year but in the years ahead. the transfer of the 28 billion pounds of assets from the royal pension fund will free it from its crippling pension debts, ensure the pensions of hard-working staff are paid and help to bring in new private sector investment. and some would have been tempted to spend the windfall. i do not propose to spend it. instead, i have used it to pay off debt. we will also maintain our control on welfare spending.
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the passing of the welfare reform act two weeks ago was a historic moment and i pay tribute to the work of the pension secretary and to all my coalition colleagues for supporting him against determined opposition from those who defend unlimited welfare. but even with the act, the welfare budget is set to rise to consume one-third of all public spending. if nothing is done to curb welfare bills further, then the full weight of the spending restraint will fall on departmental budgets. the next spending review will have to confront this so i am today publishing analysis that shows that if in the next spending review we maintain the same rate of reductions in departmental spending as we've done in this review, we would need to make savings in welfare of 10 billion pounds by 2016. we will also address the rising costs of an aging population and the burden this places on future
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generations. we will be publishing a white paper on social care. i've also said that we would consider proposals to manage future increases in the state pension age beyond the increases already announced. i can confirm today that there will be an automatic review of the state pension age to ensure it keeps pace with increases in longevi longevity. details of how this operates will be published alongside the fiscal sustain ability report this summer. one area, mr. deputy speaker, where government spending is expected to be lower than planned is, as the prime minister just indicated, afghanistan. we were reminded again yesterday of the sacrifice so many of our servicemen and women have made. as the prime minister made clear with the u.s. president last week, u.k. forces will cease combat operation by the end of 2014. as a consequence, i can tell the house that the cost of
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operations, which are funded by the government's special reserve, and entirely separate from the defense budget, are expected to be a total of 2.4 billion pounds lower than planned over the remainder of the parliament. let me be clear today. the full cost of operations will continue to be met from the reserve and our braved armed forces will get the equipment they need to complete the job. but i can ensure the sum of the benefit of the lower cost is felt by those who fight so hard and give so much for our nation's security. we will fund an extra 100 million pounds of improvements in the accommodation of our armed forces. i will also double the family's welfare grant, which is used for additional support to families left behind when people deploy. we've doubled the operational allowance. today i'm doubling the rate of counsel tax relief. the thousands serving our
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country will receive 100% relief on an average council tax bill. mr. deputy speaker, our commitment to reduce the deficit is keeping interest rates low. in this budget we take measures to ensure that the benefits of those low market interest rates are felt across the economy. they are certainly benefitting the taxpayer. thanks to the reduction in the deficit and our low interest rates, this government is saving a total of 36 billion pounds in debt interest payments compared to its predecessor. this year is the 400th anniversary of the creation of the treasury board and the modern treasury. there have been times recently when the treasury has been borrowing money more cheaply than at any previous time in that 400-year history, and few countries in europe can say that at the moment. this reflects the confidence investors have in britain's ability to pay its loans.
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i now want to test whether we can extend these benefits further into the future and diversify our portfolio. at present the longest guilt we offer to the market is 50 years. the debt management office will consult on the case for maturities longer than 50 years and one with no date. we are also taking the opportunity to rebuild britain's reserves which had fallen to historically low levels. i can confirm, mr. deputy speaker, our gold holdings have risen in value to 11 billion pounds. sadly, this does not include the 400 or so tons of gold sold a decade ago for 2 billion pounds which would now be worth six times that at over 13 billion pounds.
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mr. deputy speaker, working families are already being helped by historic low mortgage rates. the new buy scheme that we introduced last week uses the government's balance sheet to help those who cannot afford the larger deposits that some mortgage companies are demanding. it comes alongside a new reinvigorated right to buy and to ensure that there are new homes to buy, we are today expanding the britain building fund that provides upfront finance to construction firms. we are also passing on our low interest rates to small businesses through the national loan guarantee scheme. this started operation yesterday. barkley's lloyds, the rpb and the new business bank are all involved. 20 billion of guarantees in total will be available. in the autumn statement i also allocated 1 billion pounds to
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invest in funds that led to the midcap businesses that are the back bone of our economy. this is an alternative source of finance to the banks. the response has exceeded our expectations. 24 funds have submitted proposals. i am short listing seven of them. i have also decided to increase the size of the finance partnership by 20%. i am also today expanding the enterprise finance guarantee. stability, credibility, the low interest rates they bring and parsing those low rates to families an businesses, these are necessary for growth but alone they are not sufficient. as a nation we have to make a choice. this country became seduced by large deficits and the illusion of cheap finance. now, do we watch as the brazils and the chinas and the indias of this world power ahead of us in the global economy or do we have the national resolve to say, no, we will not be left behind, we t


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